Nature Friendly Zones

75 per cent of the UK is farmed land. Farming is an important habitat and a variety of wonderful flora and fauna have come to depend on it. However, in the last few decades, farmland wildlife in the UK has been struggling.

Barclye Farm RSPB reserve, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland.


However, in the last few decades, farmland wildlife in the UK has been struggling. More than half of our farmland species are declining, farmland birds such as turtle doves and tree sparrows have declined by more than 90 per cent, and 1/4 of arable plants are threatened with extinction in the UK.
The solution for bringing back farm wildlife from the brink lies in nature-friendly farming.

By spreading awareness of nature-friendly farming, we hope to improve public support for the farmers who choose to give nature a home, leading to a brighter future for farm wildlife.


  • Protecting hotspots of farmland wildlife by working closely with farmers.
  • Bringing groups of like-minded farmers together across a landscape.
  • Making farm conservation bigger, better and more joined up (as per the Lawton Review).
  • Championing nature-friendly farming among local communities and decision-makers.


  • 2012 Thorney Farmland Bird Friendly Zone, the first Nature Friendly Zone, is set up, bringing 17 nature-friendly farmers together near Peterborough, covering around 70 square kilometres.
  • 2014 A complex of Nature Friendly Zones is established in the Brecks.
  • 2015 The Ouse Washes Nature Friendly Zone in the Fens is set up. 12 farmers are brought together and their work is shared with more than 2000 people through a range of community outreach events.

Planned Work

It is our hope that more Nature Friendly Zones will pop up across the country. The work in the existing Nature Friendly Zones will continue, led by the farmers themselves.


Nature Friendly Zones have given nature-friendly farmers a voice, practical support and a shared local identity. They’ve helped spread the important message of nature-friendly farming to a wide audience. They’ve helped protect thousands of hectares worth of hotspots for farm wildlife.

If you’re a farmer and would like to find out more about what we can offer you, please see our Farming pages.


Natural England provides valuable support and funding for nature-friendly farmers through their agri-environment stewardship schemes.


The Ouse Washes Nature Friendly Zone was funded by the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership and the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Coast on a stormy day

Andrew Holland

Conservation Advisor, RSPB
Tagged with: Country: England Habitat: Farmland Species: Barn owl Species: Corn bunting Species: Grey partridge Species: Lapwing Species: Linnet Species: Skylark Species: Tree sparrow Species: Turtle dove Species: Yellow wagtail Species: Yellowhammer Project status: Ongoing Project types: Advocacy Project types: Education Project types: Species protection